Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Thank you for your business this year and here’s to a prosperous 2019!
I’ve written this sentiment more times than I can imagine and my guess is you’ve received it, too; on a card accompanying steaks, popcorn, a box of English Toffee (always my favorite), or various corporate gifts emblazoned with your vendors’ logos.
Reading this today means you’ve put your corporate gift program for this season to bed weeks, or months ago. It also means that, as a sales and marketing strategy to help grow my art business Sunrise River Galleries, I have absolutely missed the boat. But with any worthwhile marketing effort, one has to start somewhere and sometime.
If you will, indulge me please as to why a corporate gift program belongs in your marketing mix.
First, your goals for this strategy are likely expressed as: we want to say ‘thank you’ to our clients; we want our clients to appreciate our gift as useful or impactful; and, we want our clients to remember us.
Steaks and toffee are eaten and enjoyed. Logo’d merch is sometimes appreciated, if it’s useful and not an overtly gaudy billboard for a vendor with which you don’t have a solid relationship. Unless you are Wile E. Coyote, that $75 Golf Shirt or Custom Embroidered Hoodie adorned with the ACME Corporation logo, may end up in the bottom of your client’s desk drawer, or lining his or her hunting dog kennel.
Some people do like shirts and jackets. Some like calendars, planners and post-it notes. In fact, I have a pack of sticky notes from 4imprint on my desk right now; I appreciate and will use them.
I wonder, though; do the items you give your clients, top-producing employees, VIPs or retirees really make the positive impact you desire? Are you strengthening relationships?
I think (hold on, here comes the shameless sales pitch), a gift of fine art can really help you build healthy, long-lasting bonds with business associates.
Not everyone is an art collector and not everyone understands the dream convergence of a starry night screaming into the waterlily pond. However, most people have seen those paintings in their doctor’s, lawyer’s, accountant’s, or sales department’s offices. A print of a famous artwork is fine; yet you’ll make more of an impression when you give a gift of ‘local’, contemporary fine art created by an artist with whom you and your client can actually connect.
‘Local’ art, even done by an ‘unknown’ artist doesn’t mean it’s not good art. Local artists offer a wide variety of styles and approaches and gives you the art buyer/giver an opportunity to build connections between artists and ‘collectors’ (your business associates). Try saying you’ve met ol’ Vincent, Claude, or Pablo. Buying art, originals or prints, from us means you’re supporting an active artist working to make a living in the art business. It’s been said, Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting while he was working and alive; he is heralded as the quintessential misunderstood genius, the artist “where discourses on madness and creativity converge”.
Some say I may be mad for being an artist trying to grow an art business today … especially when today you can find just about anything you want online.
Christmas is next week. The New Year is in two weeks, and we all know, business is slow from now until the groundhog pops his head up. So, I embrace the folly of promoting a marketing strategy for which I am far too late to make anything of it during this season. But, if you’re at all intrigued about art as corporate gifts, corporate training to develop creative collaboration, or just simply the rambled musings of this writer/artist/galleriest/entrepreneur … do me one small favor and signup for our Sunrise Updates e-Newsletter. Our website is thin, our marketing strategies are still like wet paint on a canvas, but at least we’re puttin’ out there.
Here’s to Art for Anyone!